How to avoid becoming a Building Network Operator?
August 28, 2020
If your development project involves laterals and risers through to individual meters, chances are it could be a Building Network Operator installation. For some clients, this happens without them even being aware of the implications this may bring.
What is a Building Network Operator?
A ‘Building Network Operator’ (BNO) is an organisation that owns the electrical installation between the ‘intake’ and the consumer’s installation (their fuse board) in an individual metering development. Examples of this include apartment blocks or mixed-use developments.
The BNO may be an organisation with an electricity distribution licence (such as the DNO - Distribution Network Operator - or an IDNO - an Independent Distribution Network Operator). Alternatively, because the regulations deem this to be a licence-exempt role, if it is not adopted by the DNO or IDNO, the ownership and responsibility will revert to the building owner.
What are the responsibilities of a Building Network Operator?
Regardless of who it is, the Building Network Operator will be responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the electrical installation past the intake point.
In short, if there is a fault or issue with the cables, boards, switches or isolators, it is the BNO’s responsibility to resolve it, at their cost. If the power goes off and the issue is beyond the building intake, it is also the BNO’s responsibility to get it back on.
How does the building owner end up becoming the Building Network Operator?
Often, you have several options when you need a new electrical connection for multiple meter development.
Your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) could install the new connection including the laterals and risers to the individual meter points. They would adopt this new network and the building owner would NOT have responsibility.
However, not all of the regional DNOs offer this.
Your DNO may install the new connection and offer you multiple Meter Point Administration Numbers (MPANs) so you can have individual meters, but leave it to your electrical contractor to install the internal network. In this case, the building owner would take on the role of the Building Network Operator for the internal installation.
You may be converting a building into multiple properties (for example, an office block into apartments). The DNO may suggest you use the existing supply and offer multiple MPANs. Once again, this could be installed by an electrical contractor and the building owner would take on the role of the Building Network Operator for the internal installation.
How to avoid becoming a Building Network Operator?
The simplest solution is to get an alternative quotation for your connection from an Independent Connections Provider (ICP), such as Rock Power Connections. An ICP is an electrical engineering company who can design and install your new supply and has the relevant accreditations to do so.
Rock Power Connections would arrange for your installation to be ‘adopted’ by an Independent Distribution Network Operator (IDNO). They will then pay a one-off amount to own your installed network and they are responsible for the entire installation in terms of future servicing, maintenance and repair. This includes getting the power back on should a failure occur.
Quite often, the down payment from the IDNO (termed an ‘asset value’) will ensure a competitive quotation to the DNO’s.
What are your options as a building network operator?
So… what happens if you are too far down the line.
If you have already engaged the DNO to install the initial connection, can design and install to the individual meter points for you. Whilst the building owner still retains responsibility, has a trusted partner who can provide maintenance, servicing and an annual audit on the installation.
If you have already engaged an electrical contractor to install the internal network, can design and install the initial connection for you.
Whilst the Building owner is still responsible for the upkeep of the installation between the intake to the individual meters, it does allow you to benefit from the IDNO paying to adopt the installation, leading to a more competitive quotation.
This can be a great option if you have a trusted electrical contractor in place but want a competitive quote compared to the DNO’s offer.
How can Rock Power Connections help?
As an ICP and an NICEIC contractor, Rock Power Connections can provide a full design and installation service from the distribution network to the individual meters.
We can design and quote your installation from the distribution network to the individual meters.
We can arrange for the BNO installation to be adopted by an IDNO, so the future maintenance and repair is not the responsibility or cost of the building owner.
The IDNO will offer a financial kick-back (called an ‘Asset Value’) for adopting your network. This is passed back to you on energisation.
We will liaise with the DNO on your behalf, for a hassle-free installation.